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Terror hits New York: truck on bike path kills 8, hurts 12

02 November 2017

A driver ploughed a pickup truck down a crowded bike path along the Hudson River in lower Manhattan on Tuesday, killing eight people and injuring 12 before being shot by a police officer in what officials are calling the deadliest terrorist attack on New York City since 11 September 2001.

The rampage ended when the motorist - whom the police identified as Sayfullo Saipov, 29 - smashed into a school bus, jumped out of his truck and ran up and down the highway waving a pellet gun and paintball gun and shouting ''Allahu akbar,'' Arabic for ''God is great,'' before he was shot in the abdomen by the officer. He remained in critical condition on Wednesday.

Police and witnesses say the man deliberately drove a rented truck on the bicycle path near the World Trade Center on Halloween Day before being shot by police.

The driver - identified by officials as an immigrant from Uzbekistan - was in critical condition but expected to survive. Investigators were trying to speak with him today.

A roughly two-mile stretch of highway in downtown Manhattan was shut down for the investigation. Authorities also converged on a New Jersey apartment building and a van in a parking lot at a New Jersey Home Depot store. Authorities were scrutinizing a note found inside the attacker's rented truck, according to law enforcement officials.

Gov Andrew Cuomo said today on ''CBS This Morning'' the note made a reference to ISIS, and that Saipov had been radicalised in the US.

"This was an act of terror, and a particularly cowardly act of terror aimed at innocent civilians," Mayor Bill de Blasio said about the attack. He called it "a very painful day in our city".

Police and the FBI urged members of the public to give them any photos or video that could help. The attack echoed a strategy that the Islamic State group has been suggesting to its followers. While police didn't specifically blame any group for the strike, President Donald Trump railed against the Islamic State and declared ''enough!'' and ''NOT IN THE U.S.A.!''

Trump said in a Tweet today the suspect had come to the US on a diversity visa lottery programme, but the White House did not respond to questions about the message.

The victims reflected a city that is a melting pot and a magnet for visitors: one of the dead was from Belgium and five were from Argentina and were celebrating the 30th anniversary of a school graduation, according to officials in those countries. The injured included students and staffers on a school bus that the driver rammed.

New Yorkers woke today to a heavy police presence outside the World Trade Center and at other locations around the city. Runners and cyclists who use the popular bike path for their pre-dawn exercise were diverted away from the crime scene by officers stationed at barricades just north of where the rampage began, and a wide corridor of streets has been blocked.

Saipov, 29, came to the US legally in 2010. He has a Florida driver's license but may have been staying in New Jersey, law enforcement officials said.

Records show Saipov was a commercial truck driver who formed a pair of businesses in Ohio. He had also driven for Uber, the ride-hailing company said. An Ohio marriage license shows that a truck driver with one of Saipov's addresses and his name, spelled slightly differently, married a fellow Uzbek in 2013.

During his time in Fort Myers, Florida, several years ago, Saipov was ''a very good person,'' an acquaintance, Kobiljon Matkarov, told The New York Times.

''He liked the US. He seemed very lucky, and all the time, he was happy and talking like everything is OK. He did not seem like a terrorist, but I did not know him from the inside,'' Matkarov said. He said Saipov later moved to New Jersey and began driving for Uber. San Francisco-based Uber said he started over six months ago.

Cop earns plaudits
"Today there was a loss of innocent life in lower Manhattan," NYPD commissioner James O'Neill said at a Tuesday press conference.

CBS News confirms that Saipov was an Uber driver and has since been banned from the ride-hailing app. He had passed a background check.

Saipov doesn't appear to have an exenstive criminal background, CBS News reported. Both the FBI and the NYPD are "digging" into Saipov's background, the report said.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the attack appeared to be a "lone wolf" incident with no apparent link to a wider terrorist plot. Cuomo, O'Neill and de Blasio praised the work of an officer who they said stopped the assailant before more people were hurt.

Video shot by bystanders showed Saipov walking through traffic wielding what looked like two handguns, but which police later said were a paintball gun and a pellet gun. Police officer Ryan Nash shot Saipov when he wouldn't drop the weapons, officials said.

Officer Nash, from Long Island, has been on the force about five years and was walking a post in downtown Manhattan at the time of the rampage. The 28-year-old was hailed as a hero for stopping the attacker moments after he got out of the truck.

Gov Cuomo, a Democrat, called Tuesday's carnage a ''lone wolf'' attack and said there was no evidence to suggest it was part of a wider plot.

The vehicle entered the pedestrian/bike path at Houston St., a few blocks north of Chambers Street on Manhattan's west side. The truck drove down the bike path for about four blocks, striking cyclists and pedestrians before veering back into traffic lanes and striking a school bus and another vehicle.

An Associated Press photographer on the scene reported seeing at least two bodies lying motionless on the path beneath tarps. Video from the scene showed several mangled bicycles along the bike path.

Six people were pronounced dead at the scene and two others died at the hospital, officials said. At least 11 others suffered injuries that were described as serious. NewYork-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital said it was treating three patients in critical condition, three in fair condition and two in good condition.

The truck involved in the crash had been rented from Home Depot, although the company said it could not confirm if the suspect had rented the vehicle. The company said it is cooperating with police.  

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the president, a New York native, "will be continually updated as more details are known."

Condolences pour in
Statements of support and condolences rolled in from around the world today.

Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev sent his condolences to the president and the families of the victims, and offered his country's assistance in investigating the attack.

Similar statements were issued by France, Iran's foreign ministry, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Qatar.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan, whose city suffered two terrorist car attacks earlier this year, issued a statement saying "London stands in grief and solidarity with the great city of New York.

A spokesperson for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, which describes itself as the oldest Muslim organization in the US, said in a statement, "We mourn the lives lost in New York City and stand in solidarity with our fellow Americans."

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